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Record Four Softball Players Earn All-Region Honors

Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
         
Release: May 17, 2012
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   MUNCIE, Ind. - - A program-record four members of the Ball State softball team were named to the 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region teams as announced today by the NFCA.

   Representing the Cardinals on the All-Great Lakes Region First Team were sophomore outfielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) and senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College).

   Earning recognition on the All-Great Lakes Region Second Team for Ball State were senior catcher/designated player Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) and sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean).

   "To have four players earn All-Region honors is a testament to how this group played as a team the entire season," said head coach Craig Nicholson. "In a record-setting offensive season, these four student-athletes paved the way for the rest of the squad. Their contributions were key in guiding us to the MAC title and helping us build a reputation nationally as an offensive powerhouse."

   A total of 263 players representing 129 different institutions comprise this season's regional teams, including first and second teams for each region. Overall, Ball State was one of only 18 teams in the nation to have four-or-more All-Region selections. Five teams had the maximum of six players (La.-Lafayette, Oregon, Alabama, Arizona St., UCLA), while three had five (Tennessee, Texas, Louisville) and 10 had four (Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Hofstra, California, BYU, Georgia, Florida, Stanford, Ball State).

   The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to one of three 2012 NFCA Division I All-American teams, which will be announced at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 30.

   Ball State's four All-Region selections are one better than the previous program-best mark of three set by the 1998 squad when Amy Doyle was a first team honoree while both Cheri Ball and Jodi Workman earned second team accolades. In addition, BSU's two first team selections ties with the 2009 team for the most first team honorees (Alicia Barkley and Elizabeth Milian) in a single year.

   Ball State was the only Mid-American Conference school to place a representative on the All-Great Lakes Regions squads and was the only school besides Louisville to have more than one first team selection in the region. The Great Lakes Region is comprised of 32 schools from six different conferences: Big 10 Conference (Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin), Big East Conference (DePaul, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John's, Syracuse), Horizon League (Detroit, Illinois-Chicago, Loyola, Wisconsin-Green Bay), Mid-American Conference (Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan), Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Canisius, Iona, Niagara, Siena) and Northeast Conference (Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Robert Morris, St. Francis).

   The remaining league schools (Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami and Ohio) are in the 31-team Mideast Region and garnered three selections in the region; one first team (Jessica Simpson, Miami) and a pair of second team (Lauren Gellerman, Ohio and Alissa Birkhimer, Akron).

Great Lakes Region

First Team

Pos.

 Name

 School

P

Tori Collins

University of Louisville

P

Jenna Caira

Syracuse University

C

Amy Buntin

University of Notre Dame

1B

Alicja Wolny

University of Louisville

2B

Whitney Massey

University of Wisconsin

3B

Marisa Bast

Northwestern University

SS

Alison Mercado

Ball State University

OF

Jennifer Gilbert

Ball State University

OF

Kristin Austin

University of Louisville

OF

Cassidy Bell

Pennsylvania State University

UT/P

Kirsten Verdun

DePaul University

DP/UT-Non-P

Taner Fowler

University of Louisville

 

   

 

 Second Team

Pos.

 Name

 School

P

Haylie Wagner

University of Michigan

P

Laura Winter

University of Notre Dame

P

Brittany Gardner

Loyola University

P

Sarah Jackson

Iona College

P

Nicole Sleith

Robert Morris University

C

Kacee Cox

St. John's University

1B

Dani Miller

University of Notre Dame

1B

Amanda Chidester

University of Michigan

1B

Kaitie Schumacher

Monmouth University

2B

Katie Keller

University of Louisville

3B

Audrey Bickel

Ball State University

SS

Shannon Jones

Siena College

OF

Lisaira Daniels

Syracuse University

OF

Kylene Hopkins

Michigan State University

OF

Alexa Maldonado

University of Notre Dame

UT/P

Sara Driesenga

University of Michigan

UT/P

Alyssa Maiese

Iona College

DP/UT-Non-P

Amanda Montalto

Ball State University

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